The argument could be made with their style of play and talent level, that Notre Dame plays like an SEC team. Andy Hutchins of SB Nation makes that very argument and goes one step further, calling Notre Dame the nation's best SEC-style team.
Hutchins points out that all six of the last BCS champions came from the SEC, but they share a lot of other similarities, traits that Notre Dame also boasts - strong defenses built on line play, winning the turnover battle, and getting better throughout the season. Hutchins notes that Brian Kelly and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco have changed how the Irish play defense:
He's turned the Irish from a blitzing, gambling bunch to a disciplined, resilient unit, one that doesn't give up big plays and makes turnovers happen. Notre Dame is especially stingy against the run, allowing just two rushing touchdowns all year.
All traits of the recent strong defenses of the SEC. Hutchins also notes that Notre Dame runs the same 3-4 defense that both Alabama and Florida run.
The other thing that has turned Notre Dame into an SEC-style defensive powerhouse it the emphasis they have placed on recruiting defense. With only four seniors starting on defense, Notre Dame has pumped new talent into their system to build depth that should last for years.
And the Irish also have a tough schedule to match that of an SEC team with 11 wins over BCS-conference teams and two over potential BCS bowl teams this season.